A new public mental health outpatient clinic run by an agency that serves Henrico, Charles City and New Kent county residents officially launched Thursday with a celebration dedicating the space on Nine Mile Road.

The $10 million, roughly 30,700-square-foot facility is twice the size of an existing center on Laburnum Avenue and is expected to serve about 1,100 people each month, Henrico officials said.

The needs of people served by Henrico Area Mental Health & Developmental Services, one of 40 community-based agencies across the state that form the backbone of Virginia’s public mental health system, have increased, said Jessica Brown, chairwoman of the board that oversees the entity.

“Every day in news headlines we hear about addictions, substance abuse, rising instances of mental health diagnoses and increasing stressors that threaten our ability to live happy and healthy lives,” Brown said. “This means the work that mental health professionals do in all our many forms is incredibly important.”

The new facility opens as the county grapples with overcrowding in its two jails; a problem county officials say is being exacerbated by criminal behavior fueled by substance abuse.

Agency Director Laura Totty said the new facility will mean better outcomes for those who need help.

“We were really on top of each other there,” Totty said of the old clinic. “We couldn’t invite as many groups as we wanted.”

The new space is one of six centers where the county department’s approximately 400 employees work.

“This is another significant investment in our community,” said Henrico Board of Supervisors Chairman Tyrone Nelson. “The East Center represents Henrico’s continuing commitment to enhance and expand services for all of our residents in the county. In this case, that also includes residents of Charles City and New Kent counties as well.”

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